The holidays are a time to celebrate, give thanks and reflect, but they are also a time to pay special attention to your health. Give the gift of health and safety to yourself and others by following these holiday tips:
- Wash your hands often. Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and clean water are not available, use an alcohol-based product.
- Stay warm. Cold temperatures can cause serious health problems, especially in infants and older adults. Stay dry, and dress warmly in several layers of loose-fitting clothing. Check on children, the elderly and pets.
- Manage stress. The holidays don’t need to take a toll on your health. Keep a check on over-commitment and over-spending, balance work, home and play, get support from family and friends, keep a relaxed and positive outlook and get enough sleep.
- Travel safely. The holiday season calls for lots of traveling to see family and friends. Whether you’re traveling across town or around the world, ensure your trip is safe. Don’t drink and drive, wear a seatbelt every time your drive or ride in a motor vehicle, always buckle your child in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat or seat belt according to his/her height, weight and age and get vaccinations if traveling out of the country.
- Be smoke-free. Avoid smoking and breathing other people’s smoke. If you smoke, quit today! Palmetto Health offers a free smoking cessation program for residents of Richland, Lexington, Fairfield and Sumter counties.
- Watch the kids. Children are at high risk for injuries. Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items, choking hazards (like coins and hard candy) and other objects out of kids’ reach and learn how to provide early treatment for children who are choking.
- Prevent injuries. Injuries from falls and fireworks often occur around the holidays. Use step stools instead of furniture when hanging decorations. Leave the fireworks to the professionals. Keep candles away from children, pets, walkways, trees and curtains. Never leave fireplaces, stoves or candles unattended. Don’t use generators, grills or other gasoline or charcoal-burning devices in your home or garage. Install a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in your home. Test and change the batteries regularly.
- Handle and prepare food safely. As you prepare holiday meals, keep yourself and your family safe from food-related illness. Wash hands and surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs (including their juices) away from ready-to-eat foods and eating surfaces, cook foods to the proper temperature, refrigerate promptly and do not leave perishable foods out for more than two hours.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so don’t let a health hazard keep you from enjoying the holidays!
Palmetto Health offers several same-day care options for minor illnesses such as UTIs. To learn more, visit PalmettoHealth.org/SameDayCare.